So……. I’m not as far along on my way out of the woods as I’d like to be. I had this crazy attack of what I now think was Colitis this past November 2017. Two actually, the last following the first about a week after I recovered. At the time I thought it was some sort of Celiac(ish) issue that resulted from having wheat when I normally don’t have any. The thing is…I normally cheat on all that stuff. I do the best I can, but here and there I buy a package of Stella D’oro Swiss Fudge cookies, or oh my god, have a sandwich on real bread, and I don’t experience what happened. Which was crazy. I didn’t feel sick, like I had food poisoning, and I wasn’t throwing up. No fever, no aches. Just losing a tremendous amount of brown water via my bum. It was diarrhea the first two times and after that just brown water. Like 5 times in an hour, then I would be okay for three hours and then it would start again. It lasted 2 days. Then I felt fine! Started moving around more and made some celery juice with apple and ginger and lemon for all the obvious reasons: celery-salt, apple-sugar, lemon-purifying, ginger-antiseptic and astringent. It worked pretty well. I revitalized and then me and my mom (who was visiting at the time) did some low impact shopping. See, I wasn’t so bad.
The next week, I went to work. I started to get some bad stomach pain and cramping, which went away after having some licorice tea. But then I had an attack at work and had to leave early. Same pattern; 2 more days on and off the toilet, not feeling sick, but losing lots of water and feeling weak. I got better and vowed to stay off gluten. I was feeling pretty okay, then I got my period. Which laid me flat. Like flat in a very different way. I was a little dizzy, my eyes were getting blurry and I felt really out of it. This wasn’t CFS “out of it”, like the neurotoxin stuff, where you lay still and suffer like you’ve recently been electrocuted; it felt a little like I was not getting enough oxygen. I told my husband I was really sick and that we had to go to Urgent Care. I mean, that’s how sick I was! I wanted to go to Urgent Care! I call my good friend and next-door neighbor to come over and watch our daughter so we can both go.
We go, I get weighed, and I’m down 10lbs. Ugh. I tell the doc the story. I ask him to check my iron. I tell him about my bouts of intestinal crazy and that I think getting my period made me anemic. My CBC is mostly clean, although there is evidence of a response to an infection, and my metabolic panel is also okay. After about an hour, some tilt table blood pressure test, I don’t even get offered fluids, which I really thought was SOP when a limp, 100lb woman presents at a clinic. What I do get is a doc citing my “previous history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” like now he can just dismiss me. And to “follow up with my PCP,” which I guess I would if she was worth a shit. And that’s the next thing. Find a doctor in my HMO plan that doesn’t insult me for having this diagnosis. I’m literally leaning on my husband to help me back to the car. When we go home I take an iron pill which doesn’t help at all. I take it the next day, doesn’t help. I get my result from Quest via email two days before the Urgent Care “doctor” can call me. My iron is out of range low, as is the saturation. Hemoglobin is still okay. I’m glad I was smart enough to ask him to check my iron, because after he tossed the football to my CFS diagnosis, any real care was over. I return to work feeling like shit.
I worked for an acupuncturist at this time who suggested Floravital, which is a liquid iron supplement, which works like a charm. I feel much, much better after that, much more able-bodied and with it. I guess my body was having trouble absorbing the iron through the GI tract. I also start having celery juice first thing in the morning to clean up and refortify my GI tract, which helps a great deal. In fact, I notice a bigger difference in how I feel on the days I don’t have the celery juice than on the days I forget to take the Floravital. I continue to do both and for about 4 weeks I get 10-16 oz of celery juice in me every morning, followed by chicken soup for lunch and I do pretty okay. Check this out to read more about the Medical Medium’s obsession with Celery Juice. I add in Cat’s Claw. Then I start having a few almonds a day too – which I know contains a very assimilable form of iron. The almonds seem to really stabilize me. No more feeling like “I feel basically okay but I wish this woozy feeling would stop coming and going.” I’d say it took till mid January, early February for me to really feel myself again.
I still don’t really know what happened. Maybe all the juicing I do detoxed me a little too quickly and my overzealous liver unloaded a lot of pathogenic crunk into my GI tract, and I wasn’t drinking enough to flush it all out? I definitely don’t drink enough. Maybe my cat dying suddenly the week before released a lot of stress hormones which fed all the pathogens and all it took was a little bit of wheat to send them soaring to greater populations, and cause a type of Colitis? Or was it too much wheat alone? And I just tipped the precarious balance too far, which sent inflammation to its peak and a refusal to absorb nutrients? I didn’t feel that sick, until I became anemic. Haha, that sounds funny. Well, not technically anemic, iron deficient. the Medical Medium and has said that one cause of Colitis is the Shingles virus, which I know I have skulking around. And Licorice tea did take my stomach cramps away right away, which kills Shingles. AND, Shingles does really like to come out and play after an emotional upset; it especially feeds on the stress hormones released during grief. Which I had a ton of at the time.
The stupid thing is, I still haven’t put much energy into finding a doc I like out here. I have one in New York I really like, but even if I pay out of pocket for the visit – which I am happy to do, my HMO won’t cover any bloodwork that she may order. I have yet to go and follow-up. It’s just so hard to care about an outside opinion now. Or even an outside number on a blood test. I feel pretty good, and I’m sure my iron is fine now. I have a much better appetite and I’ve gained a little weight back.
Even with all the crazy weird health shit that periodically happens to me, I still feel healthier than I was in my 20’s and early 30’s. But I’m still tired of all-the-crazy-weird-health-shit, so in April, I’m going to do the 28 Day Healing Cleanse, where you eat raw vegan for 28 days, (after a few chocolate bunnies and Cadbury mini-eggs of course). I really just want to clean myself up and set a stronger, healthier baseline for myself. I know that after a week of withdrawl, I’ll probably feel amazing on just fruit and vegetables. High Octane! Or maybe I’ll be detoxing even further and it will be tough on me. My husband is already worried. I think my adventurous spirit both thrills and frightens him. But all I can see is the light at the end of the tunnel.
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
“We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
– I Heard a Bird Sing, by Oliver Herford
Image by Kevin Peterson
You are so strong! I’m always amazed at your tenacity and willingness to warrior on! I hope your 28 day cleanse is just what your body needs! Good luck! Xoxo